What's your goal
Whether you are investing for retirement or simply trying to grow your money, it is important to work towards a specific goal and to monitor your progress regularly.
An example of a specific goal would be a target monthly income for your coming years. It is not always as easy as saying 'I want a million dollars by the time I am 40'.
Along with your goals, it is also important to understand your attitude towards risk as well as your investment time horizon i.e. how many years do you have to reach your goal?
It is important to achieve a balance between your time horizon, your risk attitude and your goals - this is why setting clear goals is the first step in creating a realistic and effective investment plan.
Your goals can be short term, long term or a combination of both. For example, clearing your credit card debt in 1 year can be a short term goal. Investing in a property within the next 10 years could be your long term goal. Some goals will require both long and short term planning like investing in smaller amounts every month to achieve a comfortable retirement.